‘The Free School’ Documentary


Download: The Free School

The Free School, Dead Medium Productions’ new documentary about Ireland’s first ‘Sudbury Valley School’, broadcast this morning on Newstalk. Wicklow Sudbury is an experiment in alternative education, bringing ‘free schooling’ and ‘unschooling’ to Ireland. You can stream the programme above, or download at our podcast link below. It will also be rebroadcasts at 10PM on Saturday 18th November.

More information – Sudbury Valley Schools, the free school movement, the history of alternative education [PDF].

Special thanks to all the staff and students at Wicklow Sudbury School, including Aaron, Ciara, Sonja, Isthara, Mia, Kashmira, Rick, Fionn, Ed and Faye; and to the national school students featured at the beginning and end of the programme Sophie, Conor, Emma, Aoibhin, Tadhg, Donal and their parents Clare and Keith; to Joanne Lane who was kind enough to speak to me while visiting Wicklow Sudbury; and to Emer Nowlan of Educate Together, and environmental educator Joesph Campbell.

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The Free School – Upcoming Newstalk Documentary

Students at Wicklow Sudbury. Image courtesy Wicklow Sudbury



Download: The Free School Trailer

Think back, what were your least favourite parts of school? Maybe math, maybe physics, maybe you just hated gym. Now imagine a school where you didn’t have to do anything you didn’t want to. A school with no exams, no homework, no classes, not even any teachers. What if I were to tell you that not only does that school exist, it’s right here in Dublin, in a regular semi-d near the cold unfinished boom era monstrosity of the Sandyford industrial estate. This documentary explores a year in the life of Ireland’s most unconventional school, ‘Wicklow Sudbury’. This radical form of schooling has been running in the United States for almost fifty years, but can it work here? We follow the first few months of the fledgling school. Listeners will meet students, staff and parents, and explore what they found lacking in conventional education. In the process we’ll see just what Irish education can learn from The Free School.

Wicklow Sudbury School is an experiment in alternative education, attempting to apply the principles of ‘free schooling’ and ‘unschooling’ in the Irish context. The first ever term has recently begun, and right now the school consists of eighteen students of all ages, learning together.

Free or democratic schools are organised around the principle that students should take a lead in deciding their own educational path. These schools take a radical approach to encouraging free thinking and agency in their students. Free schools offer an alternative to mainstream education. They share an emphasis on child-centered learning: Seeing the learner as an active participant who choses his or her own course of study.

For many Wicklow Sudbury students the mainstream educational system has been a failure. They or their parents haven’t found the education they’re looking for in standardised classes and subject based classes. Instead they’ve chosen a school with no classes, no subject, no homework and no teachers. We follow their first few months in the school and learn how radical education works in Ireland in practice.

Broadcaster: Newstalk 106 – 108fm
When: Sunday 12th November at 8AM, repeated at 10PM on Saturday 18th November.
Online: Podcast or soundcloud.

Coming Soon – Radio Drama Adaptation of Mic Drop

The latest round of the Sound and Vision scheme awarded funding to an audio drama interpretation of my play Mic Drop. Mic Drop was initially staged at the Scene + Heard festival last summer. The radio drama version will go into production for Phoenix FM over the next couple of months, featuring up and coming actor Adam Tyrell (star of the stage production) in the lead role.

The Bee-Loud Cabaret on RTE Lyric


Download: The Bee Loud Glade – EP1 – Gerry Murphy

To subscribe to this series and lots more from Roger Gregg, check out the brand new Crazy Dog Audio Podcast

The Bee Loud Glade Cabaret is a series of twelve bite-size programmes bringing some of the best of the contemporary Irish spoken word scene to radio. Each episode will showcase one beautifully produced spoken word performance, and one ‘backstage’ interview, featuring emerging & established Irish poets. The series represents an exciting new approach to poetry on radio in Ireland, mixing studio performance, music and soundscapes, to recreate the excitement of the live poetry scene. It will bring poetry as a living spoken form to a new audience, and promote the work of a new generation of emerging and contemporary Irish artists. The Bee Loud Glade will take the word off the page and reimagine it using original music and soundscapes. Created for RTE Lyric FM. Funded by the Broadcast Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence Fee.

The Art of Television

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Download: The Art of Television

The A.R.T of Television is a historical comedy about censorship, set in the early years of Irish TV broadcasting. A time when government and church fought young broadcasters struggling to innovate on the nation’s fledgling television channel. American writer Claude Chabert lands a job on the early Irish soap opera ’Home Farm’. Claude finds himself trapped between the political pressures and rigid censorship of late 1960’s Ireland. Attempting to kill the show, he resorts to improbable storylines rooted in Irish mythology, creating an unexpected hit. Now Claude must balance the demands of crafty civil servants, a meddling church and an unruly cast.

Continue reading “The Art of Television”

Sightless Cinema 2017

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Gather in the darkened cinema for the première of a programme of short radio plays in surround sound, where all the pictures will be in your head! This third presentation of new work by the successful Sightless Cinema project is a lively mix, devised and performed by groups of blind and visually impaired people led by director Ciarán Taylor. The short pieces include hospital comedy ‘Off Your Trolley’, an historical drama on Ireland’s worst railway disaster ‘Train Wreck’, the chilling ‘Leonna’, and comedy of errors ‘Robbing Blind’.

I worked with theatre director Ciaran Taylor and the White Cane Theatre Group to develop these scripts, and a surround sound mix of each play. This may be the only time these plays are available in 5.1 sound, so be sure to check it out.

Sightless Cinema is funded by Dublin City Council, hosted by the National Council for the Blind in Ireland, with recording facilities provided by Dublin City University, and is a Dublin City Council Social Inclusion event.

When:  Wed 27 September 2017
Time:  18:45 – 20:30 PM
Where: Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield.
Price: € 5
Tickets: Eventbrite

The ART of Television – All new comedy drama, coming soon!

Download: ART Trailer

Dead Medium Productions Presents ‘The A.R.T of Television’!

It’s winter 1968, the long hangover after the Summer of Love. A.R.T is Ireland’s finest, and indeed only television station. But the nations flagship soap ‘Home Farm’ is failing as viewers frog march towards the satanic protestant seduction of the BBC. American ad man Claude Chabert is hired to turn the show around. With help from TV chaplain father Terry O’Mahony and feminist firebrand Maureen Masterson can Claude raise the ratings? Or will he fall prey to the machinations of sinister Controller of television Carvel Kiddler? Find out in The A.R.T of Television, a totally made up and completely fictional, not true at all, not even a little bit historical comedy about censorship, stupidity and Irish television. Coming to Phoenix FM and Soundcloud soon!

Dead Medium Productions history

Dead Medium Productions, founded in 2009, is an independent producer of drama and documentary. We have released numerous radio and podcast series. We have produced programmes for Newstalk, RTE Lyric FM, Radiomade, Dublin City FM, and Near FM. Our previous series include ‘Choices’ a surreal comedy about mental health, ‘Any Other Dublin’ a satirical look at the death of the Celtic Tiger, dark cold war drama ‘The Wall in the Mind’, and ‘Mad Scientists of Music’, an award winning documentary about experimental Irish music.

Writer / Director

Gareth Stack is a writer who develops work for radio, theatre and screen. Gareth Stack is a writer, director and pioneering Irish podcaster. In 2005, while senior producer at Trinity FM, he co-created the first Irish internet TV show ‘Technolotics’. Since then he has developed numerous radio documentaries, dramas and podcasts for channels like Newstalk, RTE Lyric FM as well as local and regional radio. Including the award winning series ‘Mad Scientists of Music’, which explored the Irish experimental audio scene. He has worked as arts correspondent for programmes like Culture File & the Dave Fanning show, developed programmes for digital channels like Radiomade, and served as communications officer for the Association of Independent Radio Producers Ireland (AIRPI). Gareth currently teaches courses in Podcasting & ‘Storytelling Through Sound’. Recently he has begun creating work for stage. His last play ‘Mic Drop’, received great reviews at the Scene & Heard festival.

Starring legendary radio actor / producer Roger Gregg!

Roger Gregg is an award winning playwright, composer, audio-producer and actor. Over the past 25 years he has written for Crazy Dog Theatre, Dublin Youth Theatre, TEAM, The American National Audio Theatre Festival, Graffiti Theatre, The Razor Edge, Oberon Theatre and The Gaiety School of Acting. His plays have also been produced by New York University, the University of Missouri, the Theaterpedagogisches Zentrum in Nuremberg, Germany. His Crazy Dog productions have won many international awards including; 3 American Mark Time Science Fiction Awards, 2 Ogle Fantasy Awards and 2 AUDIOFILE Golden Earphone Awards. In 2006 in a special feature reviewing his work, BBC Radio 4 hailed him as ‘one of a handful of truly great radio dramatists’.

Cast

Roger Gregg as Claude Chabert.
Sebastian Connellan = Carvel Kiddler
Seamus Stackpoole = Brendan O’Riordan / Miley O’Cumman
Gareth Stack = Eamon Chabert, Felix (in Sales), A.R.T News Anchor
Tara Cush = Shiela O’Riordan / Maraoid O’Common, Selkie
Niall Bruton = Alan O’Riordan / Ciaran O’Dowd
Thommas Kane Byrne = Fr Terry O’Mahony, Fiacra, Irate Reader
Pamela Flanagan = Maureen Masterson / Lug
Roisin Rankin = Laura O’Mahony, Banshee, BBC Presenter
Aislinn O’Byrne = Saoirse Chabert, Bridget Minerva, Irate Reader

With sound design / recording by Hearsay award winning producer Brendan Rehill (An Klondike, the Wedding Tree).

Thanks, hope you tune in!

BAI CREDIT

Little Black Lies – The Webseries

How can an undead villain search for love in the age of tinder? What if you were socially awkward and a monster? Join one sexy vampire, OK maybe not that sexy, as he tries to find the love of his life, again. This anachronistic horror comedy takes its cues from the eighties feel of recent work like ‘It follows’ and ‘San Junipero’, and springs from the lively Irish comedy scene. The writer and director preciously collaborated on absurd comic shorts like ‘Lads’ and ‘Spaghetti D*ck’, and the series co-stars rising Irish talent like Nicole O’Connor (‘FACTS’), Joe O’Neill (Little Shadow Theatre Company), as well as legendary Irish actor Roger Gregg (‘About Adam’, ‘Space Truckers’).

Continue reading “Little Black Lies – The Webseries”

Migrant Fictions

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Download: Migrant Fictions (54 Megs)

Migrant Fictions is an ambitious new drama project, bringing together the talents of a diverse group of immigrant writers to capture their experience as émigrés to Ireland. German-Polish writer / director Dominik Turkowski developed five short drama scripts through workshops with writers from the immigrant community. Their stories capture the varied experiences of newcomers to Ireland. This project provided the opportunity for immigrants to articulate their experiences in their own words, through five short radio dramas. These dramas were devised collectively by the migrants themselves, and connect in profound and mysterious ways that reflect with humour and humanity what it means to be a migrant in Ireland today.

We’d like to thank world famous film and videogame composer Craig Stuart Garfinkle who kindly donated his compositions to the project.

The Writers

The plays were written by a talented and diverse group of Migrant Writers. The writers were Dalia Smelstoriūtė, Özgecan Kesici, Dominik Turkowski, Tina Brescanu, and Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan.

Producer and sound designer was Gareth Stack.

Check out the shows complete Credits.

The Plays

Experience 5 ten-minute dramas on travel, isolation and the tension between tradition and modern lifestyles. 5 stories sharing perspectives on  love and family, of acceptance and prejudice, of frustration with the bureaucracy and profound questions between home and adoptive culture.

In profound and mysterious ways they reflect with humour and humanity what it means to be a migrant in Ireland today.

Girl On A Plane

Elif, a German born Kazakh girl, is travelling home to meet her father. Elif is studying biochemistry in Ireland, but has dreams of becoming an actress. Dreams her traditionalist father thinks are beneath his daughter. Will she go her own way ?

Howling Walls

Robert has inherited a valuable collection of paintings – the work of his well-known >artist mother Margaret Owalska, a Polish migrant to Ireland. At an auction shortly after his mother’s death, Robert is interrupted by a man who is claiming ownership of his mother’s work.

Talk at Me 

Aysegul, a Turkish migrant working in Dublin, meets her boyfriend for coffee. Really Aseygul wants to address her VISA worries, but she has to deal with the reality that her boyfriend is more interested in expressing his own opinions than listening to her problems. Asysegul has been rejected by the bureaucracy of the employment permit programme. Will she have to return to the unstable political situation in Turkey ?

Eat In or Take Out 

Egle, an elderly Lithuanian woman travelling in Ireland for work, heads to a restaurant to meet Jonas. Jonas is in Ireland working eighty hour weeks to save up money for his wife and child back home. Together they talk about life and while a new friendship unfolds, Egle is also facing the sudden ending of a long lasting romance.

I Belong – Tina Brescanu

A young Swedish girl Pernilla, falls for Carrick, a charming Irish musician on a hot night in a Swedish town. Following him back to Ireland, Pernilla must deal with the realities of working in Ireland, crank callers, and a rude elderly lady she cares for, Peig. Gradually Pernilla and Peig develop a mutual respect and become fast friends. At the same time, pressured by Carrick to join him living in isolated Connemara, Pernilla is pushed to take a tough decision..

BAI CREDIT

Dead Medium Productions to create two new Sound & Vision funded Programmes

Dead Medium Productions are proud to announce that we’ve been granted funding for two new programmes in the latest round of the BAI’s ‘Sound & Vision Scheme’. These are ‘The A.R.T of Television’ for Dublin South FM, and ‘The Free School’ for Newstalk. This follows BAI’s funding of three programmes in December 2016, bringing the total number of Sound & Vision supported programmes developed by Dead Medium to twelve since 2013.

The Art of Television is a satirical screwball comedy starring Roger Gregg, set in the early days of Irish television broadcasting.  A time when government and church fought young broadcasters struggling to innovate on the nation’s fledgling TV channel. American writer Claude Chabert lands a job early Irish soap opera ’Home Farm’. Claude finds himself trapped between the political pressures and on the rigid censorship of late 1960’s Ireland. Attempting to kill the show, he resorts to improbable storylines rooted in Irish mythology, creating an unexpected hit. Now Claude must balance the demands of crafty civil servants, a meddling church and an unruly cast.

The Free School is a documentary exploring a revolutionary new school, and it’s impact on Irish education. A revolutionary new school opened recently in Ireland. Wicklow Sudbury school challenges every assumption we hold about education. This is a school with no teachers, no timetables, no exams and no classes. A school where children as young as seven and as old as eighteen work together. A place where young people are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want. The Sudbury model represents a challenge to and an opportunity for our school system. This radical form of schooling has been running in the United States for almost fifty years, but can it work here? This documentary follows the first few months of the fledgling school. Listeners will meet students, staff and parents, and explore what they found lacking in conventional education. In the process we’ll see just what Irish education can learn from The Free School.